FACETIME- Spud spoof: Eric Hurt back with donut sequel


Has Spudnuts become a Charlottesville classic? It might, if Eric Hurt has his way.

The 29-year-old filmmaker premiered the first episode of The Spudnuts Show to an enthusiastic audience at LiveArts earlier this year– complete with refreshments provided by the Belmont bakery, of course. And now Hurt is gearing up for the second installment in a series of short films immortalizing the holiest of all potato-flour confections.

In Hurt's treatment, some bumbling hillbilly donut makers scramble each month to pay the rent for the business their dear departed father left them (it's fictional, Hurt stresses!), mockumented all the while by a group of slightly less bumbling high school students.

Local actor and filmmaker Johnny St. Ours plays the leader of the outfit– that is, the guy who thinks to show up with a package of store-bought donuts when they can't figure out how to make fresh ones in time for opening day– and he finds a certain charm in the lo-fi production.

"The budgetary restraint is like another one of the characters," laughs St. Ours. "The story and the medium of the film are supposed to be really lo-fi."

"It was really a side project," says Hurt. "We shot it on a prosumer camera for $150. That movie wouldn't look right if it were shot on 35mm film with a $250,000 budget."

Some at the LiveArts screening suggested getting the riotous picture into the hands of a major film studio, and Hurt concedes he's submitted the film to a number of festivals "just to test the waters."

"Who knows if it's going to do anything, but it's found a real fan base," he says. "We made it for ourselves and gave some copies to the actors, but the more the year has progressed, the more people ask us when the next one's coming out."

But when inspiration strikes, it strikes hard, and neither technical nor financial restraints can stand in the way of a sequel. Shooting begins in July.

"The next episode is already going to include a car with the top chopped off and a number of cameos," says Hurt. That's a loaded phrase in a town that's home to high profile actors, musicians, and authors– but as long as the screenplay meets the last film's standards, the presence or absence of stars may not matter.